Mary Beth Writes

This is a lemming. Make mistakes this year, but don’t make the lemming mistake.


This morning, while looking in our under-the-fridge freezer for soup for supper (neither of us want to cook today), we discovered a towel-wrapped lettuce. What can I say? It’s a whole new mistake to make that we have never made before.

We were putting our groceries away in a hurry last Thursday evening. I DO remember rinsing and wrapping the lettuce in that towel, which (if you don’t put it in the freezer) makes lettuce last longer. I don’t remember actually putting it in the freezer but this is possible. Or Len did. This is an equal opportunity mistakes-making home.

Welcome to the New Year. There are things to do and mistakes to make and I hope the mistakes are no worse than frozen lettuce.

Here is an interesting (to me) thing. The occupational therapist at the rehab hospital tested Len’s readiness to drive this way. Len had to walk up and down (she was along to supervise) all four corridors of the hospital. While two-handedly passing a tennis ball around himself in a circle from front to back to front to back. While reading the names of the people in the rooms as they walked past them. He did this very well, though it was the closest he’d been to a tennis ball since we had a dog.

I guess this is how to not make too many mistakes.

  • Balance and locomotion should be instinctual and smooth. If it isn’t, practice more.
  • Invent new ways to move – some of us should dance or build and fashion new things way more than we do. Play-dough might upgrade our dexterity. 
  • Look around at what is slightly different and notice what we are seeing.

Yesterday we went to Madison to visit our kids. I drove there. Len drove us home. It’s newish for me to expect myself to do half the driving, so I guess I’m changing a little. It’s awesome that Len can drive again.

When we were dating Len took me to a small theater production of a weird play about Arctic explorers. I have just looked online for way too long and I can’t find any clues as to what that play it was. Anyways, there was a scene where one of the explorers was ill and not getting better. The other guys were trying to help him but couldn’t; meanwhile their supplies were running out. The sick but nobly gallant guy gets up and says he’s going for a walk. This is the Arctic or Antarctica in a blizzard. He goes outside, unzips his parka, wanders off to die while making a heartfelt speech.

So here we are in Omicron and there are moments I think I will just wander into a grocery store, tear off my mask, and make a speech about the great life I was privileged to have.

This is my attempt at dark humor. Because seriously, what other kind of humor is there, these days?

We had a lovely quiet New Years weekend. Again. Not sure I really wanted to read more novels and then fall sound asleep at 9:20 on NY Eve. But I did. Watching a lit-up Times Square ball drop on a 26” TV screen is not something I cared to spend three more hours to watch.

This is where we are now.

What are you doing, besides going to work in a hazmat suit, to get through this thick part of quarantine? Again?


In case you would like to read something that actually informs your life, I have been meaning for a while to mention the daily posts of Heather Cox Richardson. Click here:  Heather Cox Richardson on Substack 

The woman is smart and her writing is clear. Of all the things I pay attention to as I try to keep up with what's happening around us, I think her daily letter is the best.





Aaaaarrrgh! We've all been there in one way or another. Sigh. My youngest son is getting married at the end of February. With Covid rearing its ugly head again, I'm now worried about catching it and not being able to attend. Or worse yet the bride or the groom catching it and having to reschedule everything (His lovely bride to be always wanted a Winter wedding). I know they are not alone in this as many couples have had to reschedule weddings and other events. With my husband and I both retired and just the two of us living in our home, we've decided we are both going to quarantine for two weeks prior to the wedding. No visitors, no going out except extreme emergencies. We're both vaxxed and boosted also. When they started planning this wedding over a year ago, I never dreamed that in 2022 we would still be in this fix. As for everyday living until our self imposed isolation, I keep following the CDC guidelines for masks, social distancing and getting vaccinated. I took my 13 year old grandson to the movies over the Christmas vacation and felt very unsafe. Too many people, no separation of rows and a man directly in back of us was coughing. Going back no time soon.
Mary Beth's picture

Oh man, I feel for you. Trying to be prudent and trying to have one's life at the same time has turned into such a mind-numbing hassle. If we knew what the future would be, we could wrap our lives around it - but it keeps changing. Your plan sounds smart to me - cloister in - bust out - go back to zero and hope!

Hey, I have been reading and supporting Heather for the past year! She is one smart cookie! At our house, we are now wearing those N95 masks…please, when will this ever end! We are only going to Dr and Vet appts, the grocery and sometimes church. Pretty boring life. We only see my son and his family who live 5 miles away. I want to have coffee at a diner with my friend or go out to eat with hubs. WHINE, WHINE, WHINE. The good news is we are healthy and retired and don’t have to go out..
Mary Beth's picture

Your comment "pretty boring" - yup, Mostly I love being introverted - but in the olden days it was my choice, not a survival strategy...

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Happy Birthday to Len


Today is Len’s birthday. I told him this morning I might write about him but I would let him read whatever I said first. He said not to run it past him, he’d like the surprise of reading it when you all do. Let’s see what I come up with.

1. This is cute. Len was born in Chicago’s Passavant Memorial Hospital which was the grandparent hospital to Northwestern’s Prentice Women’s Hospital - where two of our grandkids were born.

Stories, Q Club, Us

The photo is not by Len or me, its from I Love Canada on FB. I've seen a sky like that just once. 


Last week I read two books about young people who left their homes. They experienced some good and too many rough experiences and they couldn’t go back until they figured out how to not be who they used to be. Both novels knocked my socks off.

The People You Keep by Allison Larkin

Covid Diary #979 - Still Paying Attention?


Yes, it’s been 979 days since Friday the 13th, March 2020, when everything changed.

Last Saturday one of our kids visited for several hours with their kids. It was fun though our kid looked tired. They said they’d taken a Covid test that morning and it was negative. They figured it was the wine and rich foods they’d shared the evening before with friends at the end of a very busy week.

Next Day - What Are You Seeing?


It was a late night last night, wasn’t it? Len worked at a polling place 6:30 AM until 10:30 PM. He said the actual experience is a lot like working retail (which he has not done since he was 22). Stand up most of the time, pleasantly say the same thing over and over. Wonder if lunch is soon.  

Professional reporters and pundits are talking a lot about “what just happened”, but heck, we are noticing interesting things, too.  Let’s talk about what We The People saw and heard and are watching now.

Here are some things catching my attention.

Election Day


So many times I’ve thought things were going to be okay, and then they weren’t. My dad had that heart attack and the kid who was MB back then told herself to not overthink the drama because things always turn out more or less okay. Then the next day he died.

We lost a pregnancy far enough along that we had a name picked out and a crib in which to put that child. For a week I had all the misery and cramps that go with miscarrying and I still thought somehow it was going to work out okay.

That Beep-Beep-Beeping Moment.

In spring Len got a $100 traffic ticket when he turned right at a corner we’ve been turning right at for seven years. However, construction had started and there were orange barrels and cones everywhere – plus a small sign NOT facing the street Len was on, telling drivers to not turn there.

Len went back later that day and took photos. Len called the city to mention that if they posted a sign that actually faced the traffic, the city could save the cost of the cop parked there ticketing drivers.

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